What is Dual Intent and Who Can Have Dual Intent

01 April 2018

Dual Intent

At Perelmuter Law our immigration lawyers often counsel individuals with respect to dual intent issues. Dual intent issues arise in both non-immigrant. This post will explain the basics of the concept of dual intent.

Every person coming to the U.S. either has the intention of staying temporarily or they intend on staying permanently. Therefore, when a person applies to come to the U.S. temporarily they must have the intent to depart after their period of allowed stay expires. However, some visas are considered dual intent visas which means the person could enter on a temporary basis with the intent to pursue permanent residency in the future.

The dual intent visas are meant for the intention to work in the U.S. based on a work visa, and another purpose is to apply for permanent residency. The most popular visas that allow for dual intent are H-1B, L-1, and O-1 visas.

Non-immigrant U.S. Visas

To get a non-immigrant visa the foreign-based nationals are required to clearly state their intentions to not immigrate to the U.S.  For example, if someone attempts to obtain a temporary visitor visa with the intention of immigrating to the U.S. this could cause a problem as the officer could find that they have dual intent which is not allowed for a visitor visa. The applicant can even be permanently disqualified for visa fraud if the visa officer considers that a visa holder is purposely not telling the truth.

The requirements for each non-immigrant visa are different, but the conditions for maintaining a foreign residence and coming to the U.S. temporarily are very much the same. When the visa interview officer decides on the issuance of a non-immigrant visa, he will presume these obligatory requirements and the reasons that will persuade the applicant to return home after staying in the United States. Therefore, the immigration officer will consider:

1. Work and trade opportunities in each country
2. Family and Property ties in each country
3. Societal and civilizing ties in each country
4. Past efforts to initiate permanent residence in the U.S.
5. Additionally, the officer will look for pas U.S. immigration breaches or violations.

Dual Intent Visas

Interestingly, there are visas which allow dual intent. The purpose of a dual intent visa is to permit a foreign-based national to enter and stay in America as a non-immigrant. On the other hand, there also exists an option to apply for a permanent U.S. residence in the future. Some categories of visas are there that simply don’t fit the pattern of factual non-immigrant intent. Several visas intrinsically hold the likelihood that the visitor will attempt to become a permanent resident in the U.S. On these particular grounds, the concept of a dual intent visa policy was instituted.

K-1 Fiancé Visa
The K-1 Fiancé visa is acknowledged as a dual intent visa. The purpose of a K-1 Fiancé visa is for a foreign fiancé to enter the U.S. in order to marry a U.S. citizen. Therefore, K-1 Fiancés gain entry to the U.S. as non-immigrants. However, they enter with clear intention of marrying a U.S. citizen and usually immigrating to the U.S.

H-1B, L-1, and O-1 Dual Intent Visas
The H-1B, L-1 and O-1 visas are all for the purpose of gaining employment in the U.S. All of these visas are dual intent visas. These categories of visas offer the advantages of non-immigrant status and allow for the intent to immigrate. There is no need to get approval of labor certification before applying for these visas, since, the filing of an application for immigrant visas does not rule out granting H-1B status, L-1, or O-1 status in the U.S. On the other hand, the visa officer must be satisfied with the conditions that the claimant will leave the U.S. willingly after the expiration of his or her approved non-immigrant stay.

Benefits for Businesses that Sponsor Dual Intent Visas

The process of sponsoring employees with dual intent visas in the U.S. can help develop your talent.  The ability to stay in America is a considerable plus side for many foreign nationals.

Furthermore, it provides an excellent way to highlight long-life association with the organization. By offering permanent residency, you can maintain higher retention numbers for foreign-based employees


The concept of dual intent is present in several types of immigration cases. Sometimes dual intent is fine and other times it can get a foreign national into trouble. As such, it is important to understand the dual intent concept as it pertains to your situation.

If you have any questions about dual intent or any other immigration issues, please feel free to contact Perelmuter Law and speak with one of our immigration attorneys. We can be reached on our contact page, by email at lawyer@www.yplawgroup.com, or by phone at 513-913-9545.


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